Mapping lifestyle medicine in undergraduate medical education: a lever for enhancing the curriculum

Jumanah Essa-Hadad, Mary C.J. Rudolf, Noah Mani, Lilach Malatskey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In 2017, the Bipartisan Policy Center called for inclusion of lifestyle medicine (LM) in undergraduate medical education. Recognizing the requirement that lifestyle medicine should be an integral and integrated part of the curriculum, we undertook an in-depth mapping process to determine the extent of LM teaching at our Faculty, staff perceptions and the impact on medical students. Methods: The study utilized mixed methodology. In Phase 1 (Mapping) structured analysis of course syllabi were conducted followed by observation of teaching sessions throughout the pre-clinical and clinical years, recording content, the degree of coverage, and time allocated to LM Medicine. In Phase 2 (Impact and perceptions), students’ attitudes and confidence in LM counselling were ascertained by questionnaire (scale 1–4) on completion of second and fourth year of studies. Interviews were conducted with course coordinators. Results: Phase 1: Students received 58 hours of LM teaching, 49 hours pre-clinical and 9 clinical; 42 hours were dedicated to theoretical knowledge and 16 hours to teaching practical skills related to lifestyle behavior change. Nutrition received the most attention (18 hours), alcohol, sleep, smoking and sexuality the least. On completion of the internal medicine rotation, students (n = 48) agreed that LM guidance should be part of the physician’s role and that patients expected their physicians to be role models (mean ± sd; 3.4 ± 0.7). Students were fairly confident about providing general LM counselling (3.3 ± 1.1); but less so for exercise (3.0 ± 1.2), nutrition (2.7 ± 1.1), stress (2.5 ± 1.0), sleep (2.2 ± 1.2), and sexuality (2.1 ± 1.2). Staff recognized the importance of LM but reported time limitations and the need to bring in external experts to teach LM as challenges. Conclusions: Real-time mapping of teaching is a valuable way to ascertain teaching in practice. Based on our mapping process, redesign of curricula is needed to integrate more competency-based, experiential teaching, particularly in the clinical years.

Original languageEnglish
Article number886
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Lifestyle curriculum
  • Lifestyle medicine
  • Lifestyle medicine teaching, curriculum mapping, medical education


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